Family businesses often excel at relationships, a super power which allows them to challenge the goliaths in their industries. While this may leave them vulnerable to the intrusion of lifechanging moments, it also is a powerful way to motivate employees and partners.

Relationships are a superpower for many family businesses.

For our client, Hyde Tools, relationships have always been a superpower that allow them to challenge the goliaths in their ever-consolidating industry.

This is a company that has been family-owned for almost 150 years, and relationships with employees, the community, the hand tool industry, and construction professionals have enabled it to compete through market cycles and disruption. 

We’ve worked with the Hyde team for over 15 years, and can attest that their commitment to relationships is 100% authentic. Our team even refers to the HYDE brand as “our” brand (as in “I saw one of our new products at Ace Hardware yesterday.”) After 15 years of trust-building, Hyde is also a company and a brand for which we don’t mind leveraging our own personal relationships.

Most recently, one of our producers, Danielle, enlisted two well-established construction professionals, Guy and Jerry, to lend their talent to brand videos we would be shooting for Hyde. They were also two of her closest, oldest friends. (Hyde Tools’ reputation with its professional users is critical, so using actors or models doesn’t fly… a professional painter or drywaller would spot that inauthenticity immediately.)

From the get-go, Guy and Jerry were enthusiastic about the project. They agreed to split on-camera duties and began preparing for their roles. Our producer Danielle continued leveraging her connections in the construction industry to find locations for the shoots. The trio of friends were now a brand-building, video-making team! <

Then the unthinkable happened. Guy Delyea passed away suddenly after a brief illness, just before production was to begin. 

It’s in these difficult, unimaginable moments that you take stock. You reflect on the generosity of friends and the importance of relationships. You realize that the line between colleague and friend can be blurry. And when a tragedy occurs, the lines don’t matter so much anymore.

Guy was an entrepreneur himself, starting his first business while he was still in high school. A natural entertainer, he DJ’ed for over two decades, and was also a skilled and meticulous painter, working on properties throughout Vermont and Maine. 

We never got a chance to capture Guy’s craft and charisma on camera, but the fact that he was willing to lend his skills to support his friend Danielle, the team at Six-Point, and the HYDE brand speaks loudly about the person he was. 

And this is what happens when you bring the personal into the professional, and when “business” isn’t separated from “life.” We connect in deeper, more meaningful ways. When births, deaths, illnesses, and family milestones supercede project timelines and strategic plans in our businesses, it can sometimes feel disruptive. But try to imagine where your business would be without those connections.

The employees that help us move mountains also need us to return the favor, and to go to great lengths to support them and their families.

The customers who have become friends need us to be understanding when life disrupts their businesses.

The vendors who care about our businesses need to also be cared for. 

We are so grateful to Guy for his spirit of generosity, and for his commitment to his friends. We are also grateful to Danielle for introducing us to her friends. And we are grateful for their good friend Jerry, who is still willing to lend his talents to a project that was once going to be a fun adventure with a best buddy, but will now be an emotional roller coaster. 

When business becomes personal, it becomes powerful. We are excited and more motivated than ever to make this a project that honors Guy, and we know that you likely have had many projects with similar emotional overtones from the relationships and people they represent. I would love to hear your stories about how relationships have been meaningful for your company’s culture, reputation, and longevity.